El Paso Opera showcases its 19th season
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
For years the El Paso Opera has enthralled audiences with theatrical dramas and outstanding vocals. This year, the company will do the same with the opening of their 19th season.
David Grabarkewitz, artistic and general director of the El Paso Opera, said he is excited about the program for this year’s season.
“We have many good different operas including in March a grand production of ‘The Barber of Seville’ at the Abraham Chavez Theatre,” Grabarkewitz said. “Coming up (Sept. 7) is ‘Opera for All’ which brings in three Metropolitan Opera stars to sing here.”
Grabarkewitz said he hopes that audiences can appreciate both the hard work that goes into these productions and how varied the opera can be for creation.
“By the same token we have two other offerings that are more eclectic and fun in different ways,” Grabarkewitz said. “One would be ‘The Birth of Opera at the El Paso Museum of Arts.”
The El Paso Opera will also be performing the Johann Strauss’ operetta, “Die Fleddermaus” in October. The comedy production includes waltzes.
According to Grabarkewitz, the opera is not only a venue for entertainment, it is also a cultural event that helps provide support for other theatrical offerings around the city like the UTEP Dinner Theatre or the El Paso Symphony.
“The El Paso Opera is the only group to feature classical vocal music,” said Elisa Wilson, UTEP associate professor of voice and music theatre. “It is the primary vehicle through which my students in the music department get live exposure to great singers.”
Students that attend Opera UTEP make up the official chorus for the El Paso Opera and are given the opportunity to appear as singers, and in the orchestra. They also have the chance to audition. Once they are in, they sign a contract with the El Paso Opera’s Young Artist Program.
Students such as Emperatris Cabrera, junior voice performance major, has had the opportunity to sing with celebrities of the opera and has seen what it’s like to sing at the professional level.
“Just the fact that they come and perform helps me personally,” Cabrera said. “We may ask for a voice lesson, or a coaching or simply feedback and 99 percent (of the time) they are willing to help out.”
Last March, Cabrera had the opportunity to play the role of Barbarina in El Paso Opera’s production of “The Marriage of Figaro” at UTEP’s Magoffin Auditorium
“I was on stage with top notch Metropolitan Opera singers who were very kind and helpful through the rehearsals and performances,” Cabrera said. “I felt equal to them and not once did they undermine me for still being in college and being from Mexico.”
El Paso Opera throughout the years has allowed local talent to be involved with professional talent in iconic productions that feature a unique style of art, Cabrera said.
“Opera is more than a play with people yelling,” Cabrera said. “It’s far more striking than watching a movie drama on the big screen. You’re talking about people, live, in front of you trying to touch you through music in a sensible, quasi-intimate way.”
According to Grabarkewitz, the opera constantly reaches out to audiences that look for a production that displays numerous feelings of human emotion, including love, loss and compassion.
“I hope that they understand how joyous and exuberant opera is,” Grabarkewitz said. “What a great human experience it can be to be in an opera house, hearing it and seeing it live in front of you.”
For more information, visit epopera.org.
Oscar Garza may be reached at email@example.com.